Alphabet and Sounds

When learning to say words in Mohegan-Pequot, only a few sounds are similar to American English. The rest are different, but easier to say than (for example) the clicking sounds found in some dialects of South Africa.

Necessarily, when learning Mohegan over the internet and with a computer you will have to type them from time to time. As you go through this list, you will note that many of the letter symbols have marks over them which is not how we do things in English. There are two ways you can handle typing these. First, you can use your keyboard’s alt and number keys to enter the letters. For example à is alt+0224 and ô is alt+0244. If you’re using your phone to access this website or to type, you can use letter combinations. Don’t be afraid to misspell and make mistakes in either case! It’s part of the learning process.

To learn the alt codes you can do an internet search or you can go here.

Learning to speak Mohegan begins with learning how to pronounce things properly. It’s okay to make spelling errors and some mistakes, that’s all part of the learning process. Let’s start with practicing the sounds. Mohegan has 12 consonant sounds and 5 vowel sounds.

The consonants:

  • h -/h/ in ahead, ahoy. These /h/ sounds aren’t as harsh as /h/ in hope or horrible. Say the word ahead out loud to hear it. Now try saying ahoy.
  • m – /m/ in mad or ham
  • n – /n/ in no or run
  • q – /q/ in squint and equip. This sound is like a ‘kw’ sound.
  • sh – /sh/ in show and wash
  • w – /w/ in walk or way
  • y – /y/ in yawn or yet
  • c – (ch+j) similar to the in cello or the /ti/ in question. Try saying cello out loud. Now say the word question to hear it.
  • k – (k+g) similar to the /k/ in skill or ski. Try saying these two words out loud. By just reading them you may think this is a regular hard ‘k’ sound, but saying these words out loud really emphasizes the k+g sound to the ear.
  • p – (p+b) similar to the /p/ in spy and spill. Again, try saying these words out loud to hear it.
  • s – /s/ in sew, sometimes like /s/ in nasal
  • t – (t+d) similar to the /t/ in still or stay

The vowels:

  • a – /o/ in pot or rot
  • á – /a/ in father
  • i – /ee/ in knee, keep
  • o – /oo/ in boot or the /u/ in clue
  • ô – /aun/ in raunchy or the /om/ in bomb. This is a nasal sound, similar to the French nasal in bonjour.
  • u – /u/ in cut or pup

Some letters work together to represent new sounds just like we do with /ow/ to represent the ow sound in English. They are:

    • ay and áy – /ie/ in pie
    • aw – /aw/ or /ow/ in out. This is a softer sound than the /ou/ found in round.
    • áw – /ow/ in foul. This sound is slightly more stressed than aw.
    • uw – /o/ in tomato. We don’t know why uw is used to make the long /o/ and o in Mohegan is used to make the soft oo sound of boot. It just is.
    • uy – /uy/ in buy.

Practice!

Here are some ways to practice your sounds. Remember to practice saying them out loud, particularly with a partner, so that you can get used to hearing and saying them.

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